Michelle Rhee is fond of telling Oprah, Newsweek and most of the American public that teachers' unions care only about protecting bad teachers at the expense of student learning.
So it's not surprising that most of the statements that Randi Weingarten, president of the nationl teachers' union American Federation of Teachers, makes are pretty fiery. The word "scapegoating" was not absent from Weingarten's lips after Rhee's new nonprofit blamed teachers for the failing public education system.
But her assessment of Obama's State of the Union address is civil and sparky: "As a nation, we do better when we put aside our differences and find common ground, and it doesn’t cost a nickel to work together," Weingarten said. "We applaud the president’s call for more civility and collaboration, which we believe is the best hope for achieving better lives for students and all Americans."
The American Federation of Teachers played a big role in the Washington Teachers' Union's negotiations with Rhee and DCPS after the district and the local union initially failed to bridge a contract.
Read Weingarten's full statement below:
WASHINGTON—We agree with the president’s call for long-term investments in our children and schools. These investments are essential to strengthen our nation, maintain a healthy democracy and help future generations succeed. The goal is to make sure every student has an opportunity to achieve great things, just like the terrific West Philadelphia students who sat with the first lady during the State of the Union address. While making these critical investments in our future, we also have to protect those who are less fortunate and support those who are struggling mightily to lead a middle-class life, stay healthy, send their children to college and retire with dignity. As a nation, we do better when we put aside our differences and find common ground, and it doesn’t cost a nickel to work together. We applaud the president’s call for more civility and collaboration, which we believe is the best hope for achieving better lives for students and all Americans.