The head of one of the most prominent teachers unions is facing a wave of backlash after she tweeted support for an op-ed that argued parents don’t have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum.
“Great piece on parents’ rights and #publicschools,” tweeted Randi Weingarten, who serves as president of the American Federation of Teachers. Her tweet on Monday came amid an uproar over the op-ed, which was published in The Washington Post.
The controversial headline read: “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”
The authors say that although parents have some say in their kids’ education, “[t]he sudden push for parental rights … isn’t a response to substantive changes in education or the law. It’s a political tactic.”
Professor Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire suggested that the latest movement is the result of a long-standing Republican strategy of stoking White racial grievance.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers during a town hall with 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and AFT members in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 13, 2019. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“[T]his play is much bigger than education. For years, the Republican Party has understood that the demographic tide is against it,” they said.
“Knowing that every vote matters, the GOP has increasingly relied on a strategy of voter suppression. Simultaneously, Republicans have worked to ensure that their base turns out in force by stoking White racial grievance. The recent firestorm over critical race theory is a perfect case in point. Never mind that this concept from legal scholarship isn’t actually taught in K-12 schools or that it isn’t what most protesters believe it to be. Republicans gain an electoral advantage by convincing their base that White children are being taught to hate themselves, their families and their country.”
By Tuesday, Weingarten’s tweet had a ratio of more than 900 responses compared to around 390 retweets and 94 likes.
“I can’t imagine thinking that this argument helps you,” one user responded.
Corey A. DeAngelis, research director at the American Federation of Children, tweeted: “defund teachers’ unions.”