Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Randi tours Chicago with Karen Lewis. Leaves blasting the mayor.

"It feels that the Chicago mayor wants to kick the public [school] system in the teeth at every opportunity."

AFT's Randi Weingarten and NEA's Dennis Van Roekel have been trying to ride two horses at the same time, courting approval from Obama/Duncan while bucking their own rank-and-file in their support for Common Core. Feeling increasing pressure from below, they recently shifted their stand and now say they still support CCSS but "not how they're being implemented."

So CTU Pres. Karen Lewis took Randi on a tour of some Chicago schools to show her exactly how they're being implemented. Spending time with Karen seems to have had some affect. Randi responded by opening up on Rahm Emanuel (better late than never) saying "it feels that the Chicago mayor wants to kick the public [school] system in the teeth at every opportunity."
 Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of a Teachers, has supported Common Core. But on a Monday she defended the CTU's recent resolution calling on state officials and the AFT to reverse their approval, saying she had been expecting the move for months. "People keep asking for help, asking for resources, and none of that is forthcoming in Chicago," Weingarten said at the national Education Writers Association seminar in Nashville on Monday evening. -- Early & Often
After the CTU passed it's anti-CCSS resolution, Duncan used two of his former assistant ed secretaries, Carmel Martin and Peter Cunningham as attack dogs to go after the union. In her May 17th Sun-Times commentary, Martin, who served as Duncan's former assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, stooped about as low as one can go by insinuating the union was in bed with Glen Beck and the Koch Bros. Cunningham immediately joined in. He responded to a critical tweet by me this way:
@mikeklonsky @CarmelatCAP Simply pointing out that CTU is aligned with Beck and Koch against #CCSS and contrary to views of many teachers.
Former Duncan assistant Carmel Martin, says CTU in bed with Beck and the Koch Bros. 
I'll leave it to readers to decide who really speaks for Chicago teachers, Cunningham or Lewis and the CTU's elected delegates who, after much internal debate, passed the resolution on Common Core unanimously. Perhaps Cunningham would like to run against Lewis in the next union election. Place your bets.

The slime-ing of the union reminded me of when former Bush Sec. of Ed Rod Paige, called the teacher unions "terrorists" and when former N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg likened them to the NRA.

BRIDGING DIFFERENCES... I've been having a running dialogue over at EdWeek with my pal Deb Meier, see her piece, "Don't Write Off Everyone in the Tea Party" (good advice) over the issue of tactical alliances with the far right-wing opponents of Common Core. We both (especially me) oppose any such formal alliances. But while the teacher unions and community-based organization are in no danger of being mistaken for T-baggers, the question has come up among some in the anti-testing, anti-CCSS movement.

Just to be clear, I'm not just talking about engaging right-wingers in dinner party or bar stool conversations (see John Thompson's comment at Bridging Differences).

I have been pushing for us to draw a clear line between why and how we oppose Common Core and the testing madness that goes along with it. If for not any other reason than to get clear ourselves. Confusing our opposition with that of anti-government, anti-Obama, anti-public school right-wingers can only serve to discredit our arguments. The CTU resolution on Common Core offers a great critique from the teachers perspective.

CASE IN POINT...Check out anti-CCSS fanatics, like an Alabama Tea Party leader saying a vote for Common Core will damn lawmakers to hell, the American Family Association warning that children won’t “survive” Common Core, Eagle Forum saying it will promote homosexuality, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) calling it “socialism,” and WorldNetDaily saying it will turn America into Nazi Germany. Glenn Beck believes the educational standards are “evil” and designed to “train us to be a serf state” under the rule of China and Islam.

Then there's Tea Party Florida State Rep. Charles Van Zant who claims that Common Core will turn our children gay. Forgive me, but I just don't see any common ground or much room for engagement there.

BTW, I've actually heard the same thing about eating graham crackers.


  1. But...but..Randi has to be WRONG!
    Doesn't she know (as Rahm has recently declared), that he does, indeed listen to people, & that he WELCOMES the opportunity to do so?
    E.G.--CPS parents, CPS students, CPS communities, CPS teachers, CPS principals.

  2. Yes, anon. And Rahm said he believes personal insults have no place in public debate. And if anybody disagrees, fk'em.

  3. Whenever Randi is in trouble she grabs onto the coattails of community activists and talks militant to give the appearance of credibility. She has keeps spinning the Common Core for the Gates Foundation and sold out teachers in Newark and D.C. When are people going to wise up to this? People who allow her to keep doing this only diminish themselves.


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