If I were going to “fabricate” a quote, why would I pick one that is so unsurprising? After all Ms. Weingarten’s own website quotes her on March 13, when President Obama announced plans to include more Race-like contests into traditional federal school aid, as declaring that teachers “should be empowered and supported—not scapegoated. [Emphasis mine.] We are surprised and disappointed that the Obama administration proposed this as a starting point for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.”
In fact, in my initial draft of the article I had that quote in there, too, but took it out because it was semi-redundant with the one Ms. Weingarten now disputes — and which my notes (written on a reporter’s pad while standing as we left a restaurant) reflect.
That this quote is not reflected in Mr. Powell’s notes is no surprise to me; I didn’t see him take any, and he certainly wasn’t taking them as we were leaving a restaurant and Ms. Weingarten, after remarking that Race to the Top “doesn’t really involve that much money,” added her point about President Obama. In fact, as it happens, when I talked repeatedly with her last summer for the article about Rubber Rooms and I mentioned the upcoming “Race,” she said almost exactly the same thing, as my notes then also reflect.
I appreciate all of the time that Ms. Weingarten and her colleagues gave me in my preparation for this article, and I regret that they feel compelled to challenge this quote. However, I am gratified that they did not challenge any of the other reporting in the article and look forward to Ms. Weingarten’s cooperation and her keen willingness to engage candidly on these issues in the future.