By ALAN SCHWARZ. NY. Times.
WASHINGTON — Amid one of the most contentious periods in recent memory for teachers’ unions, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, on Monday called for education reform that emanates from teachers and their communities, rather than from “those who blame teachers for everything.”
“Let’s refuse to be defined by people who are happy to lecture us about the state of public education — but wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a classroom,” Ms. Weingarten told a crowd of about 2,000 here in kicking off the national conference held every two years by the union, which has 1.5 million members.
In the past year, particularly in Wisconsin and New Jersey, governors and some state lawmakers have castigated teachers’ unions and schools’ performance while slashing budgets and pushing newer education strategies like charter schools and more rigorous teacher evaluation.
Ms. Weingarten, who has long opposed the cuts — both budgetary and rhetorical — made to teachers, told her audience that the current debate on education “has been hijacked by a group of self-styled reformers” from “on high” who want to blame educators’ benefits and job security for states’ notorious budget problems. Calling the union gathering “an affirmation,” she countered that change to the education system should instead come through greater community support for teachers themselves and recognition for the commitment to children they already demonstrate....
Join the Save Our Schools March on July 30 in Sacramento. See announcement on this blog.