A recent New York Times article about the ambitions of United Federation of Teachers (UFT) boss Randi Weingarten is hardly revelatory to those of us in the ed biz, where everyone knows Weingarten is close to taking the helm at the American Federation of Teachers. But the Times piece includes some interesting bits nonetheless. For example, Weingarten says the two basic questions she always asks about policy are, "Is it fair for members, and is it good for kids?" Of course, she neglected to note that the first question's answer always trumps the second. How, one wonders, is banning principals from considering student test scores in evaluating whether teachers should receive tenure (see here and here) "good for kids"? Gadfly poses that puzzler to his friend Andy Rotherham, who gushed to the Times that Weingarten is "articulate and attractive" and said, in exemplary on-one-hand-on-the-other-hand style, that unions "exist to protect their members" but "most of the things that the teachers' unions want are in the interest of kids." We respectfully disagree. Former New York City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz got much nearer to the truth: "I think fundamentally the labor contracts make it extremely difficult to deliver high-quality education." Right. The United Auto Workers doesn't look out for the interests of Ford Explorers, and neither does the UFT protect the interests of students.
"A Schools Veteran Girds for a Broader Battlefield," by Jennifer Medina, New York Times, April 3, 2008