Teachers Union Boss Randi Weingarten
Randi Weingarten has held leadership position in teachers unions for almost three decades, but in the coming school year she faces perhaps the most daunting challenge of her career.
The 2016 election resulted in an administration whose views are almost diametrically opposed to everything Weingarten, as head of the American Federation of Teachers, believes in. The Trump administration’s strong antiunion strand and its commitment to open up schools to competition, personified in Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her school choice crusade, have put the AFT and its 1.6 million teachers on the defensive.
Weingarten, 59, was born in and raised in New York and told Forward staff writer Nathan Guttman that she sees herself as a “very religious” Jew. She is looking at the upcoming school year with a mix of concern and determination — concern over the fast-moving policy, budget and legislation changes aimed at challenging public schools’ status as the premier provider of education for American children. Her determination, she says, draws its power from a groundswell she feels among teachers and parents committed to defeating these changes.
With the school year just around the corner, what are the main challenges you’re facing?
We have a secretary of education who actually doesn’t believe in public education, and that’s a huge challenge. Our goal is for economic and education opportunity for all kids, and when 34 states still spend less on public
Randi Weingarten says she sees herself as a ‘very religious Jew.’ TOWARDS A MORE PERFECT UNION: