The AFT has sent out a talking points memo to counter the Brill NYT Mag story. Most of it is the usual stuff you’d expect but they bury a big lede; down at the bottom of the list of bullet points is this doozy (emphasis mine):
It’s also disappointing that Mr. Brill made up a quote in the article and attributes it to Randi [AFT President Randi Weingarten]. He falsely quotes her blaming President Obama for creating an environment to demonize teachers. Brill’s fabrication of her quote – which tries to pit her against President Obama – only gives license to those who seek to further polarize the debate around public education reform. Randi had staff with her when Brill did the interview and he didn’t have a tape recorder. No where in the notes reflect her saying this about the President, nor would she. President Obama and Randi may have legitimate philosophical differences in their approach to improving our schools, but they share a commitment and passion to achieving the goal.
Wow. The entire article was fact-checked with sources. Keep an eye on this one because both sides can’t be right and that’s a serious charge to bring. I assume the AFT is referring to this graf in the NYT Mag story (again, emphasis mine):
The teachers’ unions have become accustomed in recent years to fighting off reform efforts by Republicans and think-tank do-gooders. They ignore the rhetorical noise, while sticking to the work of negotiating protectionist contracts with the politicians who run school systems and depend on their political support. But what happened last month in Washington could signal a new era in which the unions have to worry that Democrats, like Washington’s mayor, Adrian Fenty, not only won’t yield in contract negotiations but will also support laws and programs aimed at forcing accountability. That is the threat posed by the Race. “Deliberately or not, President Obama, whom I supported, has shifted the focus from resources and innovation and collaboration to blaming it all on dedicated teachers,” Weingarten says.