Randi Weingarten, the head of the teachers union, said that politicians turned teachers into “social justice fighters” at a town hall meeting with Miguel Cardona on Thursday.
Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, stated that “very few teachers believed they were going into teaching in order to be social justice fighters.” Weingarten said that teachers often “cannot teach” certain books or topics, answer questions of children, and “have “to be mask police,” which can lead to burnout.
“This has caused some of the burnout. It’s not the parents. That’s politicians. Parents want the best for their children. Weingarten said that teachers are also interested in their children’s success.”
Weingarten made these comments at a back-to-school town hall, hosted by the White House and National Education Association.
The union head was responding to a question on what the federal government and teachers’ unions are doing to address the teacher shortage. He highlighted the importance of teachers being “respected.”
Weingarten stated that “it has not been an easy, not only the last two years but also the inequity and injustice, the lack of opportunity, the lack of a level playing ground.” Teachers are the first to respond to all of this and they demand respect.
Weingarten said that people would be happy to be teachers if they were respected.
Weingarten and teachers’ unions have been subject to harsh scrutiny for their relationship with parents.
Weingarten was subject to harsh criticism after he tweeted support for an op-ed that claimed parents don’t have the right of influencing their children’s school curriculum.
A blog post from August on the American Federation of Teachers’ “Share my Lesson” site stated that parents would “make it their job to undermine teachers.”