Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?
So I guess when Michelle Rhee writes a piece like this it’s bound to spark a response. But, Randi Weingarten’s NY Daily News op-ed about the DC contract is surprising. Weingarten is in an earned place where she can rightly claim credit for helping forge a few genuine accomplishments over the last few months – Colorado where the AFT courageously broke from the NEA to support the Johnston bill, New Haven where the new contract paved the way for a new evaluation system, and D.C., which is a big deal in terms of the combined elements of that contract. Though her most ardent critics won’t acknowledge it, those are real.
Yet The Daily News piece is at once small (I don’t remember Weingarten patronizing the folks in New Haven for that contract being the first for their leadership, and was New York really all Bloomberg? I thought there was some guy named Klein who was involved there somehow…), it’s needlessly revisionist in its history of D.C. to the point that anyone who has been paying attention to school reform there sees right through it, and most importantly it is bound to blow-up down the road as soon as other districts – for instance New York City – start proposing the same reforms that are in the D.C. contract. Suddenly I don’t think we’ll be hearing the minimalist language anymore and the argument about inapplicability doesn’t even pass the smell test.
Weingarten should be taking a deserved victory lap right now because she moved her union in a way many doubted she could. This diminishes that.