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School Union Chief Weingarten is a Danger to Your Kid’s Education

School Union Chief Weingarten is a Danger to Your Kid’s Education

For more than 15 years, Randi Weingarten has been the head of the powerful American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – about half the size of the 3-million-member National Educational Association (NEA), but just as powerful.  As lobbying organizations, the AFT and the NEA are indisputably among the most powerful lobbying organizations in America – at every level of government.

While both organizations lean heavily, Weingarten has brought the AFT to an unprecedented level of wokeness in education long before the term became part of the political parlance.  According to her critics (this author included), she is a political radical who undermines basic education in favor of indoctrination to a leftwing social agenda.

Weingarten’s supporters see her as an activist in support of teachers’ rights and the broader leftwing social agenda.  To the extent that that may be true, it has not been good for millions of students and parents.

Prior to her role as head of the AFT, Weingarten was president of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) – an organization known for its radical policies and, ironically, for its racist actions during her tenure.  Steeped in the politics of education and leftwing causes, ironically, Weingarten – a lawyer by training — has served only three years as a classroom teacher – and that was over thirty years ago.

It should not be forgotten that as a union leader, Weingarten’s primary concerns are her members – not the students.  Her evergreen efforts have been to secure more taxpayers’ money and hire more teachers.  She negotiates to ensure that most of any new money is expended for the benefit of the teachers – even if it means a reduction in classroom spending.  Even as she fights for more taxpayer money, Weingarten’s AFT negotiates to protect incompetent teachers from being fired … more time away from the classroom for teachers … opposition to standardized testing to confirm student educational quality … social promotion … opposition to charter schools and school choice.

Weingarten has been an advocate of something called “teacher autonomy,” – which is nothing more than a euphemism for “unaccountability” to students and parents.  She has been a proponent of the belief that schools hold a superior position to parents not only in education but in socialization and political opinions of students.

Weingarten has been a key figure in pushing highly controversial programs, including President Obama’s Race to the Top Initiative, Common Core – and most recently, promoting a cultural war over race, sex, and gender curriculum content directed at even the youngest school children.  Some claim that the latter is the result of Weingarten’s openly gay lifestyle.  It is a fair point.

Weingarten has been a major supporter of Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and so-called anti-racist pedagogy – claiming that those projects simply teach “real history.”  The outrage among parents and taxpayers rises from a view that these projects teach reverse racism and anti-American history – and deepen racial divide.  Contrary to her own claims, Weingarten supports the teaching of a one-sided history.

Weingarten played a key roll in the shutting down of America’s public schools during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  She promoted the extended use of virtual learning against complaints from parents and the serious harm it was doing to the children.  While she claims she was only “following the science,” she was actually overriding the science.  Only more recently are the negative impacts on the children of Weingarten’s politics being more fully revealed and understood?

In terms of the response to the Pandemic, Weingarten played a behind-the-scenes role with both the White House and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in establishing national Covid policy – assuming medical expertise she does not have.

In her more than 30 years as an education official, Weingarten has no obvious initiatives to improve the quality of education for minority students trapped in dysfunctional schools in segregated cities.  During her tenure, minority students continue to be denied basic education that can lead to college or career level employment.

That is because the teachers’ unions have been an integral party of the political money machine that takes billions of dollars from the taxpayers and filters millions of dollars to the Democrat political machines that control the failing urban school systems.  

Like most union leaders, Weingarten is skilled at feathering her own nest.   She is in line for a large pension courtesy of the taxpayers, even though she has not been a government employee for decades. (Remember that mere three years in the classroom).  Due to a little known provision, she can claim to be a teacher on leave.

Weingarten is a formidable figure in national politics – aligning with the radical left Democrats.  (As you can see in the photo atop this commentary).  Her influence, however, has not been beneficial to America’s students or the entire concept of public education.  She has not been good for the Republic based on a mutually held culture.  She has been one of the wrenches in the gears of public education.

Fortunately, parents are responding … protesting … pushing back.  It may be costing Weingarten some of her influence.  We can only hope so.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

16 Comments

  1. frank stetson

    I hear Larry’s lament, once again it’s the Democrats running the school system now just like they run all the cities, tun the Congress, own the Presidency, FBI, DOJ, IRS, FUK and YOU. Hard to tell though since the Dems own all MSM so only the words they want are the words we get. Even Tucker got suckered in. Of course Dems have totally ruined the schools run by the States and Local Districts by nationally recommending the teaching of inclusion, acceptance, and history…where does Kyle Rittenhouse fit in that bullshit? An amazing thing how they reach out and tell the State, Local Districts and parents what to do, how to do it, and when to stop. Lucky we have those plucky parents, all Republicans, like Crusaders against the infidels. Faster than a speeding wokeness, More powerful than teaching our history of slavery, able to ban tall piles of books in a single bound. Can’t have that shit, anything making whitey feel bad about our history, health or humanity is hell. And, of course — there is no such thing as alternative genders no matter what the world tells us.

    What I really wonder in all this is where have all the Republican teachers gone, long time passing? Don’t think they’ve gone to Wall Street, don’t think they’re drinking Bud or Jack, so why are there no Republican teachers. Or if there are, then what happened to their ability to shape the future of their own children, but instead leave it to the parents?

    Oh who cares, why does Larry even care. All the Republicans are in charter schools anyway so why even do you care?

    • Tom

      Interesting commentary Frank. Weingarten is a real mixed bag. Some of what Larry says is true and I do not like. Other things I agree with him on. Many teachers, even the democrat teachers do not like the woke stuff nor do they like the porno books and LGBTQ stuff (like mandatory flying the LGBTQ flag in classrooms). So do not feel too confident about Dem teachers. Many of them do not believe in what your side of the aisle is promoting.

      I do not agree with Larry on standardized government testing. If Larry were as free market as he says he is, he would advocate the free market such as industry and higher education give the feedback on how prepared students are to enter the next level after K12. Fact is, EOG (End of Grade) standardized test suck a lot of money out of the classroom, bloat administration budgets, and really are not the best indicators of success. Not only do they suck money out of the classroom, it creates weeks and weeks of unnecessary review time because all that matters is passing the EOG. Consider this, if EOGs are that effective then why have we been using them for over twenty years and the results have gone the wrong way. Just think about it. I can tell you all kinds of EOG horror stories. There are much better ways of ensuring students are prepared for the next level. So on this one, I am with Weingarten.

      As far as GOP teachers, I was a GOP teacher 20 years ago. I left because of the “No Child Left Behind” policy which we teachers called “No Teacher Left Standing”. By 2013 it got so bad that teachers were being crucified by parents who know nothing about the school system, never attended a single PTA meeting, did not even know what their kid was doing even though they were sent emails. Most of my teacher friends that have left in the past few years have left because of the woke shit being pushed down to the classroom. They do not mind teaching the truth but they absolutely object to the pedagogy being used and how it makes real time villains and victims in the classrooms, and how it promotes being LGBTQ. Frank, you like promoting that crap which destroys minds while being all for not involving our young in wars because it may damage their bodies, as you mentioned in a previous post.

      Frank, I do not know of any genetic science results that have ever stated that there are more than two genders except in a few cases where both sexes are contained in one species called Hermaphrodites like worms, flukes, snails and slugs that do tend to live in isolated environments where it is hard to reproduced – but again, this is God’s design. You do not hear them promoting crap that is against what God has defined by creation. So your argument stating, “there is no such thing as alternative genders no matter what the world tells us. ” is worth about as much as my used toilet paper. The only part of the world telling us that is the mentally ill part and those sucked into their web of lies and deception under the banner of inclusion and acceptance.

      The only ones telling stories about existence of alternative genders are those mentally ill people with gender dysphoria who tell it to gain acceptance, not because they wish anyone to know the truth. Remember, these people are uncomfortable with their bodies given them by God. They have been corrupted into thinking that they have a mind-body mismatch, so rather than acknowledge and treat the mental illness (corruption), they treat the body by changing it, mutilating it, and taking hormone blockers. Fine for them. But do not corrupt the minds of the young students with the same mental illness. Many teachers, GOP and Dem have not liked having to deal with this LGBTQ state sponsored corruption so they went to private schools of various forms. And they sent their children to these schools to protect them from the corruption that you and others on your side of the aisle promote, yet you have no kids in the schools, but you do not seem to mind corrupting the minds of other people’s kids. But you disguise it as inclusive and acceptance. Just like you disguise pro-abortion as pro-choice. Just as you disguise homosexuality as a nicer word, gay. Just as you promote God’s symbol of the rainbow as a peace symbol it now is a homosexual symbol. Are you not seeing all of the attacks against what God has done and against his people!!! Blind guide!!!

      And by the way, there are many like me and others that are not telling you there is alternative genders, but you refuse to listen to us, nor can you produce any shred of evidence – even the scientists admit this. But you keep bashing the ones that you should be listening too! It is your receiver that is out of tune with the order of creation, not the creator.

      All will have their moment with their maker, and will be held accountable for all that they have said in their lives. Good luck!

      • frank stetson

        Tom, sarcasm alert on that one, don’t take it too seriously. I am no expert in this stuff, or her resume.

        • larry Horist

          Frank Stetson …. Alas, you admit that your sarcasm should not be taken seriously … and that you are “no expert” on the things about which you opine. EXACTLY!! That is what I have tried to tell you. In your attempt to ingratiate yourself to Tom, you have revealed a lot.

          • frank stetson

            Mr Horist: Alas, you seem totally obsessed with me, to the point of not thinking rationally, obsessed to the point you think old-English is funny. It isn’t, it’s furniture polish. Once again you forsake thy issues and go right for the man. The personal pontification of low brow branding personifies your putrid punditry. You even attempt to reach inside my mind to psychoanalyze my motivations.

            Alas, dear reader, Larry hath finally grasped the concept of sarcasm. About time. Sarcasm, alas, oft times uses bitter, caustic, and sometimes ironic language directed against a person or topic. To wit for the witless. And yes, I do, as I did before but you could not grasp correctly, I do admit that this particular piece of sarcasm should be taken with a grain of salt. Brilliant of you to expand that to all things, a total misread, as is your style, again, as usual.

            I thought I was dismissed? What’s up with that? Obsessed?

            And you are correct to repeat again that I am “no expert” on this stuff or her resume although you once again did inflate “this stuff or her resume” to “the things about which you opine” as if its’s everything instead of just your imagination gone hog wild again.

            I would come at you directly mirroring your own puerile personal attacks, in the unmanly manner to wit you be frequently favoring, but I have fortunately found that when you freakin fight with a pugnacious pig, you both get dirty, but the pig likes it.

            Mr Horist: it is oft said: He who can, does (me). He who cannot, teaches (Tom). He who pretends, consults, and then brags about his clients (Larry). By the by, Larry of the Bag, I consulted too and my clients were bigger….. :>)

  2. larry Horist

    Frank Stetson … Your rants are getting more and more nutty. You are writing crap. You simply spew out a chain of disconnected and irrational invectives. I fail to find an intelligent sentence in your entire posting. You sound like an angry drunk.

    • Dan tyree

      Teacher unions are terrible for education and should be abolished

      • larry Horist

        Dan tyree .. In ten words you made a very cogent point relating to the subject of the commentary. Franks should take notice. He tends to drone on and on mostly off topic and rarely makes an intelligent point. I have not been a fan of government unions — especially with essential services, and teachers are an essential service.

        • Frank stetson

          You seem to be obsessed..Almost addicted. But if it’s comparison you like, Daniel Olivier is much more concise, comprehensive, and eloquent than you. He likes facts and sources too.

          Anytime you want to discuss ideas, facts, etc. you can drop the personal stuff; its as boring as your vendettas.

        • Tom

          Larry, I am wondering how many years of service you and Dan have in the K12 public classroom, and what your teaching discipline was during your tenure.

          K12 Public School Teachers deal a lot with all of the social issues in society that translate to the home and cause kids problems. They deal with the hunger, the crime, ugly parents who do not want their super basketball kid star benched because of poor math grades, principals with their own agendas that try to be kids best friends, woke crap that they disagree with, and lots of other things not too mention lack of raises and losses of benefits while having administrations take away their planning time which they desperately need. They deal with mandatory requirements to attend after school events like dances to be chaperones and quasi parents with no authority. And they deal with lying parents and students that will say anything to get their kid pushed ahead. They deal with over crowded classrooms full of BEH (Behaviorally and Emotionally Disturbed) children with no help that they are supposed to receive. They deal with no money for classroom supplies and parents that refuse to buy class room supplies. They deal with complaining parents that have never attended a PTA meeting but have no problem ripping into a teacher in the principal’s office. They deal with sports schedules that allow a kid with failing grades not to be benched or sidelined because by the time you can sideline them there is a new semester and all is reset, but the kid is still failing the course. I know, I was K6-12 Mathematics for ten years. I have plenty of horror stories.

          Schools are as good as the society around the school and as effective as the parents help the teachers make it. I do not know if unions are the answer, here in NC we do not have teacher unions. But if not unions, then what? More good teachers are leaving teaching every year.

          • frank stetson

            My niece started teaching near the city and all was good in the suburbs of a major metro.

            Moved home after father died, to help mom, had to step down to a lower grade and basically wait until someone died to move up no matter how skilled, how much experience.

            Finally just got bumped back to High School, all is good except now she will face the same beggars but won’t recognize em for the changs.

            She is up in those Appalachians, coal country, with all that entails ON TOP of all the shit you noted. I mean some of these kids are living Deliverance…..

            I am always amazed how education has more petty politics than business. My Dad worked at the college level and I used to thank him for the education NOT TO USE my English/Journalism degree there and pivot to PR and technical writing at the last moment. And he worked the money end, getting money, and even though he was good, he brought in the bucks, he still had to deal with that shit. In business, owning the P&L for a LOB: it was pretty easy to say bugger off when ahead of plan, and easy-to-know to accept all when not. Pretty clear how to navigate in that world. Green letter law you could say.

            FYI — she’s math too which is why getting back was important, otherwise the saw would not be sharpened and turn dull. So happy for her, but what a system. She had the creds, the experience, the reviews —– just couldn’t bump inferior legacy teachers……

          • larry Horist

            Tom … I have never been a K thru 12 teacher — other than a significant number of class room visiting presenters (although never in drag..lol.) I have been a very involved parent in my children’s education. Also, education has been one of my major consulting enterprises — including with the Chicago and Detroit boards of education, the Milton Friedman Foundation for School Choice, the Marva Collins Prep school, the Chicago Teachers’ Academy and other clients. My experience in public school education may be far broader than even yours.

            Having said that, I do understand you concern over standardized testing. It is not the end-all and be-all of determining education quality. However, it can be an indicator — along with traditional grading and teacher assessment. No matter how you look at it, however, the public school are failing to provide quality education in many areas — especially pronounced with students in the segregated minority urban communities. The ghettoes are education deserts. It shows in standardized testing … drop out rates … teacher incompetency … college entrance capability and numbers … etc.

            The use of social promotion and elimination of standardized testing merely means that the lack of education goes undetected. That is what the school unions seem to want. Don’t fix the problem … just hide it. You can conceal the failure of education within the systems, but students face the reality when the enter the working market — and they cannot compete.

            Tom, What would you propsoed to evaluate education quality …. and how you you address the current horrific failure in those inner city schools?

    • Frank stetson

      Sorry, was copying your conclusions without the boring filer.

    • Tom

      I do not think it is an angry drunk. I know of many angry drunks that would agree with my comment to Frank on this post. I think it is more of a zealous activist.

      I am not a union person but I was a K6-12 and community college teacher for ten years so I do understand some of her concerns, especially in the area of standardized EOG tests. There are much better ways of measuring improvement. One way is to look at the first year drop out rate in colleges. Another way is to survey the colleges and businesses regarding preparedness of new hires from high school or college. Another way is to survey high school math, science, Engish and social studies teachers as to how prepared the students are when middle school children come to them. And survey the middle school with how prepared the grade schoolers are when they come to middle school. Another way is an overall learning gateway test at the end of grades 6, 9, and 12.

      Now with regard to holding students out so long post covid, I disagreed with her on several levels, not just education but also social development. Overall, Weingarten has been responsible for more teachers leaving the profession than entering it. And that is not good. Bye the way, the NEA has no bargaining power and is not quite like Weingarten and the bunch. But I think both are way to political.

  3. George

    If teacher’s unions are so great then WHY did 80% of a Sr. high school class FAIL to graduate in a Baltimore high school? They can’t read or figure out percentages for car loans or credit cards, yet they know EVERYTHNG about sex and LBGTQ etc. What’s wrong with this ;picture ?

    • Tom

      Please read my comment to Larry for your answer. As a former teacher, I can tell you it is a complicated picture. My comment to Larry only scratches the surface. I agree with your frustration.