Oy vey, Randi!
Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of missives to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. The first six can be accessed here.
Oy vey, old friend!
As you well know, I have written several heartfelt emails to you over the years, pointing out my concern over many of the public comments you have made. But now I am absolutely beside myself!
First, last month you tweeted, “115% of mothers with young children left their jobs in 2020 because of childcare responsibilities.” Goodness, girl, what were you thinking! Thankfully, you realized that you had stated a mathematical impossibility and apologized, explaining that well, er, um, you meant 11.5%.
But wait, it gets worse. After acknowledging your gaffe, you went on to say it was Trump’s fault that mothers were exiting the workforce. Is it conceivable that you are unaware that multiple studies have shown that the teachers unions have been the biggest obstacle to school reopenings across the country? You can’t whine about mothers being driven out of the workforce when you are the cause of it, you silly goose! It’s like killing your parents and then begging for compassion because you’re an orphan!!!
Then there was the lie. And oy vey, it was a whopper! In March, you told the Black News Channel, “We’ve been trying to reopen schools since last April.” But as Mike Antonucci reveals, in every major school district in the country – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, etc. – your union’s local affiliates threw up roadblocks to getting schools up and running.
As a fellow Yid, I suggest you go to Synagogue and atone for the Pinocchio impersonation.
Oh, and while you’re at the temple, please also seek forgiveness for your irresponsible comment about the suffering that children have endured due to union-mandated school closures. While study after study has shown that the damaging effects of the lockdowns will be permanent, you blithely insisted, “No, I don’t believe that. I believe that kids are resilient and kids will recover.”
Then, in response to allegations that the teachers unions have gained too much power, you told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in March that “American Jews are now part of the ownership class” and “that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.”
What in Moses’ name were you thinking?! As David Harsanyi notes in National Review, your comment is reminiscent of Karl Marx’s anti-Semitic diatribe, “On the Jewish Question,” where “the infamous crackpot argued that the secret of the Jew is to accumulate wealth for practical need, self-interest, and huckstering.”
So, after being widely ridiculed in the media, you did another well, er, um, “clarification” of your comments, rambling on for over 900 words in The Forward, saying, “But I didn’t express those thoughts artfully, and I used language that I regret.” Also, the piece was titled, “My faith in Judaism and my faith in unions are one and the same.” Are you responsible for that blasphemous headline?! Are those words yours?! If so, it sounds as if you are putting God and union bosses on the same spiritual level. For that you get another well-deserved oy vey!
And then there was the embarrassing moment on Fox News where you actually defended the “1619 Project.” Are you not aware that every historian who has looked at this drivel has denounced it? Even its own author has walked back some of the report’s more egregious allegations. Host Martha MacCallum pointed out that “…scholars say there’s no evidence that colonists were motivated by that (slavery) in coming to the United States.” She goes on to say it’s wrong to teach them something that is clearly untrue, because it “sets up all of these other tenets that lead to teaching kids that we live in a systemically racist country.” And the best you could come up with was that you arrived at a “different conclusion.” When your weak argument failed to impress MacCallum, you quickly pivoted, changed the subject, and lambasted Fox for its coverage of the 2020 election. Oy vey, yet again!
Also, during this painful media outing, you described yourself as a “history and social studies teacher.” While your official bio claims you taught history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn from 1991 to 1997, can you back that up? In 2011, EAG News obtained your personnel file via a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. According to the New York City Board of Education, you were hired as a substitute teacher in 1991, received a provisional license in 1993, and a certificate to serve as a substitute in 1994. Additionally, “A 1997 letter indicates you didn’t submit documentation showing you’d met requirements for licensure. No record indicates you ever served as a full-time teacher or were evaluated by a principal or other school official.”
Yet, you have never acknowledged this accusation or corrected the record. In fact, when you ran for president of New York’s United Federation of Teachers in 1998, your opponent Michael Shulman suggested that you were not a “real teacher,” saying, “She worked five months full-time that I’ve been aware of, in 1992, at Clara Barton High School,” Shulman was quoted as saying in the New York Times. He added, “Since then she taught maybe one class for 40 minutes a day.” I suggest that if there are any inaccuracies in the FOIL or Shulman’s comment, you address them ASAP.
And finally, just last week you opined, “There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In person. Five days a week. With the space and facilities to do so. We know that’s how kids learn best and that prolonged isolation is harmful.” (Hmmm. So much for the aforementioned “kids are resilient” comment.) But goodness, did you really need 6,000 words to make your point! What a blathering ramble! You made Joe Biden look like Cato the Elder! And frankly, what you proposed is what most sensible non-unionistas have been calling for all year. It’s like you suddenly realized that the Earth isn’t flat, and thought you’d share it with an unsuspecting world. But the good news for all of us, I guess, is that your CDC toadies will include your decision – verbatim – in its latest guidelines.
If I sound a bit testy here, I apologize. But as someone who pulls in a $564,000 yearly salary, I would think you’d be a bit less meshuga and more judicious, at least in public. Get it together, girl! Better late than never!
* * *
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.