American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten sounded off on “right-wing extremists” at the New York State United Teachers conference Wednesday, claiming public schools are “foundational” to American education and that conservatives are trying to “undermine” educators.
She called out Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, claiming that kids won’t become critical thinkers and learn lessons of life if they “get their way.” She claimed further that “schools are a way of creating pluralism and diversity” and “that’s why there’s censorship of books and lessons, and calling educators “woke.”
Last month, DeSantis and DeVos delivered speeches as keynote speakers at a summit held by a conservative parental-rights organization called Moms For Liberty.
The summit was a 3-day event to equip members from 30 states on how to elect more conservative candidates to school boards.
At the summit, DeVos, a staunch school choice advocate, called for the Department of Education to be “abolished” in order to leave education decisions to state and local boards.
“These extremists are fighting these culture wars, and the attacks are only going to get worse. It’s a strategy to divide educators from parents, to create apathy and fear. These are the biggest tools they have to win,” Weingarten said, according to AFT.
“Right-wing extremists have said that the way to universal vouchers is to create universal distrust. But our members stuck with the union after Janus. And people around the country understand the importance of unions. That’s why they’re fighting these culture wars.”
Claiming “extremists” implemented a strategy to “divide educators from parents by “spreading apathy and fear,” Weingarten announced an “antidote.”
“What do parents want the most? They want their kids to learn & to be safe. That’s why we started our #ReadingOpensTheWorld program – to increase literacy and get kids excited about learning by giving out 1M books – and focus on community schools,” Weingarten said.
Lindsey Burke, director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation, pushed back on Weingarten’s comments, telling Fox News Digital that there is “widespread support for education choice among parents, and recent polling shows Americans now trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to education.”… (Read more)