Reclaiming the Promise
Yesterday the AFT sent out an e-mail under Weingarten’s signature – I must have gotten five copies. They announced a “Reclaiming the Promise” campaign.
The part I liked said:
This is why we are asking you to stand with us and push back on privatization, austerity, mass schools closures, and test fixation, which have not moved the needle in the right direction. It is time we reclaim the promise of public education — not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be — to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed. This will be central to our work in the coming years, and the AFT executive council passed a resolution this week formalizing this as AFT policy.
But as this is the AFT, I am tempted to read between the lines. “Push back on privatization” vs “end privatization” – is that me being picky? Are “mass school closures” bad, but single ones ok? Does “test fixation” mean the AFT still likes standardized testing, just in more measured amounts?
For some of those, I may be being unreasonably picky, for others, time will tell. But my attention was drawn somewhere else.
“Reclaiming the promise of public education is about: Fighting for neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming places for teaching and learning”
This went out under the signature of Randi Weingarten, who fifteen years ago, in a series of closed-door meetings, conspired to take away every neighborhood high school in the Bronx.
This is not a question of small schools versus large – although that was certainly part of the conspiracy. Breaking up large high schools was combined with “school choice” in such a way that not a single child in the Bronx was left with a high school associated with their neighborhood or community.
Look, I want to stop privatization, end austerity, stop school closures, massively reduce high stakes testing… And I want every child to have a good neighborhood elementary school, middle school, and high school. I promise.
But I think the person nominally in charge of the effort should come clean about her own past role in disenfranchising communities.