The president of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions asserted that school choice is a policy rooted in segregation and racism.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), characterized school choice policies as the cousin of segregated schooling.
“Make no mistake, this use of privatization, coupled with disinvestment, are only slightly more polite cousins of segregation,” Weingarten said during a speech Thursday.
Her comments are part of a wider narrative being pushed by teachers unions that both President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are bad for students.
DeVos has been a strong advocate for alternatives to the traditional public school model. Her advocacy and philanthropy irks the education establishment, as she has been disrupting the status quo by fighting for “school choice” and charter school laws.
The harsh rhetoric from AFT comes just weeks after the president of the nation’s largest teachers unions blasted Trump and DeVos as cruel and callous. (RELATED: Nation’s Largest Teachers Union Blasts Trump, DeVos)
“We will not find common ground with an administration that is cruel and callous to our children and their families,” Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said July 2. “And I don’t just judge them by their words; I judge them by their actions.”
The nation’s powerful teachers unions see DeVos as a threat. She was the champion of the charter-school law in her home state of Michigan and pushes for educational choice, whether charter schools, school vouchers, or tuition tax credits
The billionaire philanthropist chaired the American Federation for Children, a group devoted to electing state legislators around the country who favor school choice.
Groups in favor of school choice criticized Weingarten’s comments and called for her immediate resignation.
“America’s teachers should look into their hearts, consider whether this is the type of language and leadership they want as being representative of their views and voice,” Jeanne Allen, CEO of the Center for Education Reform, said.
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