There’s been a lot of attention focused on Weingarten lately, as some statements and positions she’s taken have created cracks in the reformist union leader image she’s cultivated over the years, and I’m sure this speech will be carefully parsed and critiqued–but not by me right now. I have only two very small and tangential comments:
In the speech, Weingarten says a lot of things that mischaracterize both reformers and the reform agenda. But she does have one criticism of reformers that is absolutely, dead-on accurate: Too many really don’t recognize or care about the critical importance of good curriculum. AFT does, and this is an issue that they have done really admirable work on, and where reformers could and should learn from their example. Cue Robert Pondiscio.
Second, it’s a bit jarring to read the speech and keep hitting the references to higher education faculty, nurses, even lifeguards–other groups of workers that AFT represents (and is actively building its base by organizing) besides public school teachers–Something people often forget when thinking/talking/writing about AFT. But why no mention of childcare workers?