October
4th 2012
AFT’s Randi Weingarten Steps Forward as Face of Opposition to Bold Dougco Reforms

Posted under Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & PPC & School Board & School Choice & Suburban Schools & Teachers

Lucky Colorado. Yesterday the president of the nation’s second-largest teachers union paid a visit. Ed News Colorado reports that while AFT’s Randi Weingarten stopped in to tout an innovative school nutrition program at Denver’s Cole Arts and Science Academy, she also used her big political stick to bash the Douglas County school board:

“This is what’s infuriating to me,” said Weingarten. “Here we have Denver, which took the germ of an idea and it has blossomed into this amazing thing with workers and management re-envisioning the school kitchen.

“And across the border is Douglas County, where the school board is only interested in its own power. Douglas County schools used to be on the cutting edge in Colorado. But rather than respect the staff, for political and malevolent reasons the board has undermined the public education system that once was known as the jewel of Colorado.”

Why is she so upset?

Because the Dougco school board bid adieu to the teachers union and stopped the machine of collecting dues money for the AFT political machine. So we can understand why Weingarten might be upset.

But there are a couple other takeaways from the AFT president’s remarks. First, she has forecast a disaster for Douglas County students, parents and teachers. Is she tipping off a union slash-and-burn strategy, perhaps to send a message that other school boards dare not follow Dougco’s example and cut into her Washington, D.C., office’s campaign coffers? Second, she has reminded us why the Board has followed the bold path it has bringing the national union forward as the clear antagonist to Dougco’s bold reforms.

Brilliant.

As Dougco school board president John Carson told Ed News Colorado:

“The Douglas County Federation of Teachers really has its strings pulled by the national union in Washington, D.C., and that’s demonstrated by the fact that that’s where they send the majority of their union dues, to the national union for politics,” Carson said. “The Douglas County Federation of Teachers is really more interested in national politics and is not interested in the educational interests of kids in Douglas County.”

While the groundbreaking choice and performance-based reforms in Colorado’s third-largest school district are too much for Randi Weingarten and AFT to fathom, she did give the Ed News reporter an idea of what type of reforms are appealing to the national union powerhouse: “the Denver pay-for-performance experiment,” better known as ProComp.

Of course, calling ProComp performance pay would be generous. I like the talking dog metaphor better. Real educator performance pay is moving forward in… Dougco, of all places.

Thanks for visiting Denver, Ms. Weingarten. Please come again.

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “AFT’s Randi Weingarten Steps Forward as Face of Opposition to Bold Dougco Reforms”

  1. DeGROW: Only a year away, Douglas County School Board race heats up « Watchdog News on 09 Oct 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    [...] a union-backed school nutrition program. Several miles away from Douglas County, she nonetheless stepped forward as the face of the opposition to the cutting-edge reform strategies. She attacked the Dougco School Board as being “only [...]

  2. Ed is Watching » Dougco Moving Forward with Bold Innovations to Performance Pay, Evaluation on 12 Oct 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    [...] of this year’s earlier tumult dies down a little bit (though AFT president Randi Weingarten looms as the face of the opposition), Dougco school leaders appear to be seizing the moment for effective professional teaching reform [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » Latest Dougco Lawsuit Suggests Little Beyond Need for Presidential Limelight on 18 Feb 2013 at 11:48 am #

    [...] the Douglas County Federation president out there. One wonders, though, what national AFT president Randi Weingarten would have to say about this [...]

  4. Margo Knutson on 13 Apr 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    This is just more of the same from the unions – they do not put the “kids” first. What is first are union dues, then protecting teachers and then the kids. Why not put parents back in charge and allow them to work with the local schools, teachers and school boards instead of allowing Washington, D.C. to make those choices. The Douglas County school board is innovative, leads with professionalism and boldness and as a taxpaying law-abiding parent in DougCo, I am proud to call them my school board.

  5. Ed is Watching » Dishing Up a Little Friday Irony, American Federation of Teachers-Style on 19 Apr 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    [...] the same Randi Weingarten who has stepped forward as the face of the opposition to Douglas County’s bold agenda of innovating and re-imagining public [...]

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