"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weingarten's New Job

Since setting off a storm of protest with her autocratic endorsement of corporate shill, Hillary Clinton, Randi Weingarten has tacked away onto a less obvious political course that will, no less, serve the needs of the Clinton campaign and its billionaire funders.  

Randi's new assignment is to solidify, if she can, black working class support for Hillary, and in order to do so, Weingarten has on board with her the "Black Lives Matter" crew, along with a full contingent of Oreo bloggers, TFA provacateurs, and plenty of white corporate foundation check writers to keep everyone entirely united and on message. 

Randi Weingarten's latest commentary at HuffPo is titled "Race in America: Changing Reality by Facing It." After reading her post, along with the hot-off-the-press report from the AFT's Racial Equity Task Force, I am suggesting a revised title to something that better captures Randi's modus operandi: "Race in America: Whitewashing Reality by Ignoring It."

Weingarten's protege, co-author, and TURNcoat Executive Vice-President of AFT, Mary Catherine Ricker, has this endorsement of the Report:
AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker called the report "the grounding for the work we do in our classrooms and workplaces to better meet the needs of African-American students, their families and the community at large," adding that it could be "the launching pad for our advocacy and fight forward to defend the rights of all working Americans, including women, people of color, the disabled, immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community."
Please do download the Report and read it, for it encapsulates the bone-tired neoliberal non-solutions to racism and inequality that the Clintonites have trotted for years now.  Included in the report are clipped charts and graphs from other reports that are badly blurred or entirely unreadable, along with the skimpiest of documentation, no reference list, and not a whit of new research offered.  

Unlike the comprehensive approach in other recent reports such as the one by the Ferguson Commission, the AFT's entire report is a meager ten pages of public relations mush.  It culminates with this closing remark and a "to do" list, which oddly focuses only on the needs of black males:

Therefore, as we move closer to our 100th anniversary as a union and our convention in July 2016, the time has come for the AFT to take on this issue in a bold, decisive way that results in real change in our nation, our communities and our schools. We ask the AFT executive council to approve this report and the recommendations as a first step in our fight forward. We believe the following recommendations provide a framework for the development of policy— in national and state legislation, at the local school board level and inside the AFT:

  • Fund programs that provide alternatives to out-of- school suspensions that offer meaningful educational opportunities for black male students.
  • Change school discipline policies to include restorative justice and fairer enforcement.
  • Develop and implement programs to intentionally help identify, recruit, develop and retain black male educators and staff.
  • Provide professional development and cultural competency training that helps teachers and other school staff understand their own personal biases.
  • Create review processes in schools to ensure that black male students are treated fairly.
  • Develop funding, mentoring and counseling to create greater opportunity for black males to attend college.
  • Establish partnerships with trade unions to develop apprenticeship programs that provide job training and placement in trade careers that open the door to economic opportunity and independence for black men.
  • Continue and expand our work with the Conferences of Chief Justices to help establish engagement strategies to bridge the gap between minority and low-in- come communities and court leadership through collaborative efforts that will increase public trust and confidence in the states’ courts.
Fight, what fight?  This list is striking for its total absence of any mention of the real issues driving inequality, exclusion, inequity, and racism in education.  For instance, there is no mention of the growing racial and class inequality inside or outside of school, except to boast that AFT was the only union to file an amicus brief in favor of Brown v Board in 1954.  

Sixty years after Brown, however, AFT remains entirely silent about resegregation in public schools or the viral spread of apartheid charter schools, just as AFT remains silent about social class and racial sorting by standardized testing regimes.  

How can AFT pretend to break down institutional racism to benefit black males or anyone else, when AFT remains entirely complicit in corporate education's minstrel show? If "silence is akin to consent," as Weingarten reminds us in her HuffPo commentary, what does this say about Randi's role in the perpetuation of institutional racism in education!

Where is AFT's support for racial or socioeconomic integration in housing and schooling?  When will AFT or NEA use some of their hundreds of millions of dollars to advocate for children's rights to equal, multicultural education, rather than pretending to address the "lingering effects of racism and inequality" with more empty and inane pronouncements?  

"Lingering effects," really? Such verbiage offers the picture of some long ago incident, for which there continues some remaining cause for grievance.  How long will Weingarten continue to use a threadbare veil of social justice to attempt to conceal her flagrant neglect of the needs of children, parents, and teachers alike? 


  1. Michael Fiorillo2:59 PM

    Thank you for mentioning the infestation of TFA fifth columnists like DeRay McKesson, who mentioned Michele Rhee as one of his influences on his LinkedIn page, and Brittany Packnett, in Black Lives Matter.

    It's no wonder Weingarten would endorse them.

  2. Wow. This article made me think that the Clinton campaign & the Dems could be using TFA as another tool for placating the BLM resistance. In this article by Drew Franklin, he makes several connections between the meteoric rise of some of the BLM leaders, DC insiders, & TFA.

    "The Movement Lives in Ferguson: Teach For America, Black Leadership, and Disaster Capitalism"