Teachers union honcho Randi Weingarten likens parental rights, school choice supporters to segregationists
Category: News & PoliticsVia: vic-eldred • 2 weeks ago • 8 comments
By: Victor Nava (New York Post)
National teachers union boss Randi Weingarten likened the rhetoric of supporters of school choice and parental rights initiatives to that of segregationists, sparking an outcry from supporters of the movements.
The explosive comparison of Jim Crow-era racists to modern-day activists pushing for school districts to allow parents to have more input in their children's education was made by the American Federation of Teachers president during a Tuesday interview with Northeastern University's Burnes Center for Social Change senior fellow Seth D. Harris.
"The same kind of roots that happened in the aftermath of Brown v. Board, those same words that you heard, in terms of wanting segregation, post Brown v. Board of Education, those same words you hear today," Weingarten, 65, said in response to a question about the differences in the political discussion surrounding schools now compared to the 20th century.
"I was kind of gobsmacked when I was talking to Southern Poverty Law Center, and they showed me the same words: choice', 'parental rights' and attempts to divide parents versus teachers, and at that point, it was white parents versus other parents. But it's the same kind of words," she added.
Weingarten claims the words "choice" and "parental rights" were favored by segregationists seeking to stop the integration of public schools in the Jim Crow era.The Burnes Center for Social Change
Weingarten argued that only a "small group of extremists," who want to see an end to public education, back school choice and parental rights policies. She specifically named former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, New College of Florida board member Christopher Rufo and the conservative nonprofit group Moms for Liberty, which touts a 115,000-strong membership across 45 states.
"If Randi is actually interested in addressing modern-day segregation in schools, she should unequivocally condemn the practice of racially segregated 'affinity groups' & 'healing circles' that are used in K-12 schools," Nicki Neily, the president of Parents Defending Education, tweeted in response to the union leader's comments.
"And yet she was the one blocking the schoolhouse doors," Ilya Shapiro, director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, argued in a tweet.
Randi Weingarten likened parental rights and school choice advocates to segregationists:
She says the words "choice" and "parental rights" are the same kind of words that were used in reaction to school desegregation by opponents of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. pic.twitter.com/XDvP12pWbU
— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) September 13, 2023
"Public schools remain one of the most racially and economically segregated institutions in America," Nathaniel Cunneen, communications strategist for the American Federation for Children, noted in a tweet. "Stanford University researchers found that white-black segregation between schools increased 35 percent between 1991 and 2020. Meanwhile, nearly every study on the topic shows that school choice has positive effects on integration."
The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Moms for Liberty and other parents' rights organizations "hate and antigovernment groups" - alongside groups such as the Ku Klux Klan - in June.
Weingarten claims that the "vast majority" of parents reject the "noxious words" of school choice and parental rights advocates.John Roca
The extremism watchdog argues that "Today's so-called parental rights activists have also copied and pasted from the scripts of past groups, adapting old racist and homophobic ideas, as well as conspiracy theories asserting Marxist indoctrination. They are now adding a dash of QAnon rhetoric, accusing progressives of attempting to groom and sexualize children."
"Just like their predecessors, their rhetoric takes on marked anti-LGBTQ, racist and nationalist themes, excluding from their parental concern large demographics segments of American society," the center added.
Weingarten responded to the outcry in a tweet Tuesday, calling it "an example of the extremism we face."
"I said I was shocked that a small group of extremists were using the noxious words of segregationists and observed the vast majority of parents and educators reject it," she said.