Tuesday, July 26, 2016

AFT and DNC Joined at the Hip

In this piece from Education Week, there's a clear connection between the DNC, which has recently been exposed as in the tank for Hillary, and the AFT, which has pretty much always been in the tank for Hillary. Tweets from AFT President Randi Weingarten are now peppered with anti-Trump items, but before Hillary pulled ahead the flavor of the month was those awful "Bernie Bros" and their terrible abusiveness.

Evidently Common Core is now the third rail of American politics, loved by virtually no one except Randi Weingarten and Hillary Clinton. Even UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who was gonna punch our faces and push them in the dirt, now talks of Common Core as though it's dead and buried. Of course it isn't. I fully expect the Common Core name to be erased and replaced. Maybe they'll be the Happy Smile Standards. But it'll be a while before we teach love of reading rather than close reading.

Clearly the AFT wanted to avoid that particular third rail and focus more on Mom and Apple Pie. I sat there for four days and the only really interesting parts of it were when someone stood up and started trash-talking Mom, or saying the Apple Pie was full of cyanide. So while AFT leadership can pat itself on the back for having passed a bunch of resolutions about how the world would be better if people were nicer, it's not difficult to have the appearance of unity when you avoid talking about topics that really trouble teachers.

That, of course, is not to mention that almost 30% of the delegates came from UFT, who'd have nominated a ham sandwich for President of the United States if Leroy Barr told them to. In fact, Mulgrew called Hillary the most qualified presidential nominee ever, or some such thing. Everything is pretty black and white when you're bound by loyalty oath, and you can't or won't look at the gray areas.

So it's better to have 2600 delegates stand around and pretend we don't have Common Core. They can pass some watered-down amendment suggesting some nebulous opposition to testing up the wazoo and continue to trash the opt-out activists who actually caused Emperor Andy to make some superficial concessions.

Let's be clear--it is the job of AFT to represent us, the working teachers who do this job each and every day. It is not the job of AFT to represent the DNC, or their clearly unethical priority to get Hillary nominated by any means necessary. In fact, while the Republicans are fairly awful, it's not the job of the AFT to work with the DNC unless it's advancing the education goals that will help us and the students we serve.

I'd argue that DNC has done a wretched job of that over the last few years. President Obama is the reformiest President ever. He's pushed charter schools, insisted that teachers be rated by junk science, appointed some of the very worst people on earth as Secretaries of Education, and ignored the concerns of activist parents and teachers. He's allowed Arne Duncan to make some of the most offensive comments I've ever heard, like Katrina being the best thing to happen to NOLA education, and shows virtually no awareness of what is actually going on in K-12 education.

How that merits our support, let alone our loyalty, is beyond me. And frankly, given our evident unconditional support, let alone the dollars flying to Hillary from Broad and Walton, I fail to see any reason to believe she will do any better than Obama did.
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