Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weingarten at Pearson Stockholders' Meeting

In a scene right out of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, AFT President Randi Weingarten goes to London, hat-in-hand, to plead (more sir) for Pearson's Board of Directors to stop spying on students who may have been chatting on social media about the PARCC exam.

Now there's nothing wrong with union leaders (even belatedly) joining with the thousands of their own members, parents and students, who have been demanding that Pearson end this vile practice. In fact, they should have been out front of the national revolt against Common Core standards and imposed testing madness in the first place. Yes, we need to turn up the heat, not just on Pearson, but on our own politicians who take campaign money from Pearson, and on those school district leaders who throw multi-million-dollar, no-bid contracts Pearson's way to impose their own mis-education policies on our teachers and public schools.

"Please sir..."
But there was something in RW's pathetic appeal to these global education profiteers -- recognizing their sovereign right to profit, while at the same time, asking them politely to temper their spying activities and to "mediate the contract language" that allows such practices -- that shamed me as an educator and a public school parent.

Weingarten's plea:
While I recognize the Pearson has a duty to its shareholders to be profitable, my question centers on another obligation. That is to conduct business in a way that befits the world's leading education organization.
This while the AFT and its own state affiliates have signed on to the very legislation that allows or mandates these practices. This while half-a-million parents back in her home state of New York are actively and courageously opting-out of Common Core testing. This also after her wishy-washy and bewildering response to a question posed to her by Diane Ravitch at the Chicago NPE meeting:
Ravitch: "Where do you stand on the Opt-Out Movement?
R.W.:  “Every parent should have the right to opt out or not to opt out.”
As if parents were being forced to opt out... by who? How?

I wish RW a speedy return to the U.S. so she can explain this gobbledygook to those parents.


  1. Randi has a strange view of the democratic process. Instead of petitioning our government and its representatives, she petitions boards of the mega-corporations like Pearson. Then she declares them to be, "the world's leading education organization" though I fail to see how they qualify. Do you remember voting for them?

  2. Doug,
    I suppose in Randi's view, the corporation with the most money gets to be the leader. A neo-liberal dream come true. Or maybe it's whoever gives her a seat at the table.

  3. http://killercoke.org/pr150415.php
    Check out more corporate cow towing by Randi.

  4. I couldn't agree with you more, Mike. Except for your last comment about her "speedy return," because she already went--in fact, joked about being in London for "one day" (the TSA questioned her reason for a "one day" visit--yes, a bit strange IMO, as well--wonder how much this cost the AFT members?!)
    If this makes her some sort of hero, well, then, I'm Andy Kaufman doing his "Mighty Mouse" bit. (For those of you too young to remember, M.M's claim to fame is, "Here I come to save the day! Mighty Mouse is on the way!"
    Anyway, our time is best spent pointing out to as many people as we can (& wherever we are, whatever amount spent--er, wasted) that ILL-Annoy SBE spent $34 million on te$ting for the 2014-15 school year (source: Chicago Tribune) AND signed a 4-year. $160 million NO BID (isn't the CPS Board being investigated for that no bid thingy?) contract (source: More Than a Score) w/Pear$on. People I've told who didn't know become furious--"I thought education funds were to be spent on schools," many have said to me. Just point out how many more social workers, books, availability of lower class sizes we could have--if all of these $$$ were not misspent on Pear$on CCRAP--te$t$ & te$t prep$. Point the finger, people, point the finger. Knowledge is power. And the power of 99% of us is much greater than that of 1%. (I had excellent Math Teachers!)

  5. Who do you view as the world's leading education organization?

  6. I don't know. Who's in the running?

  7. Chicago Teachers Union, without a doubt.

  8. Marie, I love your question & Carl, I wholeheartedly agree w/your answer!


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.