My latest open letter to Randi Weingarten
This is the fifth in a series of missives to the president of the American Federation of Teachers. (The first four can be accessed here.)
Can you believe it! Next Monday will be our tenth anniversary! Yup, a whole decade has passed since Terry Moe, Rod Paige and I devoured you and two co-unionistas in a humiliating debate loss in New York City. Perhaps that’s what you had in mind when I tried to say hi to you outside the Supreme Court after the Janus oral arguments in 2018. But you refused to even look at me, and then turned to a newsman and launched into a bizarre rant, insisting that unions “actually make communities safer and…the right-wing is threatened by that.” Anyways, I sure hope the embarrassment you suffered in 2010 is behind you now.
In any event, I’m so sorry to hear that things haven’t gone well for you lately either. First, remember the debacle in 2015, when, after an alleged poll of .04 percent of the membership, you and your union heartily endorsed Hillary Clinton as your choice for president? That elitist move really nicked thousands of the union’s Sandernistas, and over 4,500 teachers signed a Change.org petition demanding that AFT withdraw its endorsement. But since Hillary was your BFF, you weren’t about to budge.
Chastened, you promised to make it more open and democratic this time around. But on Feb 21st, your union’s “executive council” made a top-down decision to winnow the field to just three candidates, Biden, Warren and Sanders. Then a week later in a flatulent 3,300-word outburst, you slobbered all over Elizabeth Warren and anointed her as your personal fave.
Randi! Randi! Randi! I so wish you would have consulted with me first. I would have told you in no uncertain terms to avoid Lyin’ Liz (or as Mark Steyn calls her, “the Cherokee Dominatrix,”) like the plague. Being untruthful about where she sent her kids to school, her blatant cultural appropriation, and all around dislikabilty follow the woman around like a dark cloud. In fact, she is a limousine lefty’s limousine lefty. And promising that the Secretary of Education would need to be vetted by a “young trans person?!” Oy vey! Thou dost condescend too much! Of course, all this is water under the bridge now, because after an abysmal showing on Super Tuesday, the old squaw has whimpered off into the sunset.
Bet you thought you’d be the Ed Secretary had Warren prevailed, huh? I’m sure you could have convinced the young trans girl that you were worthy. But another of Warren’s stipulations was that she wanted a teacher for the position. Yes, I know you claim to have been a teacher, Randi, but there is evidence that you taught full-time for just one semester at Clara Barton High School in New York. If true, yes you taught, but no, you were not a teacher.
Also, did you give any thought about the financial ramifications of such a drastic career move? The Ed Secretary position garners a measly $199,000 yearly salary, about a third of what you currently make. With the $582,000 you rake in as a union boss, I would urge you to think twice about taking a position for mere chump change. Just looking out for you, old friend!
Goodness, girl, you make almost as much as ol’ Betsy and the Donald combined! Speaking of which, doncha think you get a bit carried away when talking about Trump? When you weighed in on the impeachment circus, you accused the president of “betraying American democracy” and ended your rant with the hackneyed, “Truth and transparency are the strongest disinfectant of all.” My dear, as one who has outrageously claimed that school choice is really about resisting integration, and that school-choice programs are “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation,” perhaps casting truth and transparency stones is not something you should be engaged in.
BTW, I certainly understand your reluctance to include Michael Bloomberg as one of your anointed presidential picks. You two were not exactly palsy-walsy when he was mayor of New York and you ran the Big Apple’s teachers union. I remember that he really frosted your cookies when he compared UFT to the NRA. In fact, I was not thrilled with MB’s comment either, but for a totally different reason. The NRA is an honorable organization that protects our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and it collects money from people who volunteer to pay. OTOH, teachers unions – at least at the time MB made the statement – extorted money from educators in most states who simply wanted to teach. Not to mention the fact that the NRA doesn’t fight to keep incompetents on the job, the NRA doesn’t go on strike to kill off charter schools and the NRA doesn’t insist on anti-child contract stipulations like seniority and tenure.
Oh, and talking about charters, Randi, please keep your union out of the charter-operating biz! The UFT’s embarrassing attempt to run two charters in the Big Apple has made the Edsel look successful. After becoming one of the city’s lowest-performing schools, the union closed its elementary and middle school in 2015. Now in 2020, the UFT high school has also been shuttered. It had drastically declining enrollment, down from its 400 peak to just over 200, as parents were bailing at an alarming rate.
OMG, I’m getting depressed just writing this letter. So let me end on a positive note! Despite all the setbacks: Betsy DeVos, the Janus decision, Elizabeth Warren’s demise and – okay, I can’t help it – the debate loss in 2010, chin up, Randi! When all else fails, just remember, you are a one-percenter, making about ten times what an average teacher makes. You live in the Hamptons, a very wealthy community on Long Island’s south shore, where you moved in 2012, thus avoiding having to pay $30,000 in N.Y. City income taxes. And, all the while, you fight to raise taxes on the rest of us every chance you get.
Life is good, old friend!
All the best,
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.